David Drake

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer

The Classics

A Martial Poem

When Tony Daniel, Baen editor, requested Dave to read a martial poem for the Baen Free Radio Hour podcast, Dave took it literally and recorded a poem by Marcus Valerius Martialis. He read the original Latin poem (Book 4 #18) and then his own translation. It’s now archived in the podcast of March 20, 2015 at 42′ 54″.

Here is the text of the poem and Dave’s translation:

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Greece and Rome


A ruined caravansary from southern Turkey

The photograph is a ruined caravansary from southern Turkey, some days’ journey east of Adana. The building was constructed during the Seljuk period–old, probably from the 1st millennium AD, but post-classical. It’s a stopping place for caravans, where merchants could lock up themselves and their goods for the night in rooms around the periphery while their animals were corraled in the open courtyard in the center. A building that served the same purpose and looked much the same has probably stood here throughout recorded history: donkeys moved at the same speed in the 3d millennium BC as they did in the 19th century, so the resting places would have been the same distance apart. continue reading…